F.M. Riley (1 Dec 2019)
"The Saul - Paul Connection"

Saul - Paul
                                                             By Pastor F. M. Riley
                                                             November 28, 2019
     "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief,
     Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first, Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting."                                       1 Timothy 1:15-16
     Why are some of God's people today shocked, surprised, disappointed, and outright angry at Israel and the Jewish people,  for what appears to be  treachery and deceit, in the Middle East war, and in world politics  going on today?  Why?
     The lost, unbelieving, Christ rejecting, Jewish people are depraved, fallen, sinners, with a "sin nature" received from Adam [Romans 5:12], just like all the rest of mankind.  We all have such a "sin nature," but it shows up more prominently in Christ rejecting unbelievers; whether they be Jew or Gentile.  
     I am well aware that the Jewish people are the chosen people of God, through an "everlasting covenant" the Lord God made with Abraham.  So???   Does that make the Jews a perfect people who can do no wrong? Not hardly!  In their unbelieving, rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Savior, they are anything but perfect.  So why do many of God's people today expect perfection from the unsaved Jewish people just because they are the chosen people of God?     Well...??
Our Scripture Text
     In these two Scriptures in 1 Timothy 1:15-16, is a vital end-time truth that is almost totally overlooked or ignored by prophecy teachers and preachers today.  This truth, by the grace of God,  will be the subject matter of this study.  So let's get right to illustrating this truth that so many have missed or ignored.  Read on.......
Saul of Tarsus
     Surely every reader knows that Saul of Tarsus, and the Apostle Paul are one and the same man.  Saul was the Hebrew name given to him at birth.  He continued to be known as Saul right up until he met the Lord Jesus Christ while on the road to Damascus.  Then his Hebrew name was dropped, and he was from that time forth called Paul, the Greek form of Saul.  Even the change of his name foreshadowed the Lord's promise to give every true believer,  a "new name, " Revelation 2:17.    
     Saul and Paul
     Both of these names are Biblically significant.  
     The Greek word translated as Saul literally means, "dedicated to God."  See Strong's No. 4569.  This name sets forth the character of the entire Jewish people.  As a people they are absolutely dedicated to living by the Law of God given to them by the hand of Moses so many centuries ago.    
     The Greek word translated as Paul literally means, "little; small." See Strong's No. 3972.  Whether or not this was a description of the actual  physical stature of Paul, I do not know.  But it certainly describes his spiritual stature.  There is likely no man in the entire Bible, which showed more humility and humbleness of heart, before the Lord God and His people   than the Apostle Paul.  Glory to God!   
     Now that we have examined the names involved, let's turn our attention to the two lives lived by this man as set forth in the  Scripture passage  used as a text for this study; 1 Timothy 1:15-16.  
A Careful Examination of 1 Timothy 1:15-16
     In this passage the Apostle Paul is instructing young Timothy.  And what was it that Paul wanted Timothy to know and understand?  
     Three things in particular.......
     [1]   That Christ Jesus came into the world "to save sinners."  In Adam's disobedence, sin and death passed upon all of the human race, Romans 5:12; 6:23.  But until a person acknowledges this truth, facing and confessing their own guilt before God, there is no way they can  be saved from the penalty for sin, Romans 6:23.  Christ did not die for "good" people.  Those who believe themselves to be "so good" that they don't need salvation from the Lord, are as sure for Hell as if they were already there, UNLESS at some point in their life, God grants them the grace to repent and believe on Christ.  Every living soul was, and is, created by God, and our eternal destiny is in His hands.  Believe it now, or wish you had believed it later.  Right here is a good place to turn and read the Lord's Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus as set forth in Luke 16:19-31.     
     [2]   The Apostle Paul considered himself to be the "chief" of sinners; the most vile and wicked sinner who had ever lived,  because he had "persecuted the church of God," 1 Corinthians 15:L9.  Paul never forgot this truth throughout his ministry, referring to his persecution of the Lord's church and people a number of times in his epistles.  He continued throughout his ministry to see himself as the head, leader, worst, most vile, and "chief" of sinners.   Yes, I am emphasizing this point due to the truth that follows.......  
     [3]   In this Scripture text Paul clearly states that his life and salvation experience was "a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him [Christ] to  life everlasting."  It is obvious that Paul, in making this statement,  had in mind his own Jewish people.  Paul loved his people, and so much wanted them to be saved.   He was the Lord God's "pattern to them which should hereafter believe."  
     Dear readers, pay attention to this statement, for it means what it says, and says what it means.  The Greek word translated as "pattern" in this Scripture literally means, "a type; typification; sketch; symbol."  See Strong's No. 5296.  In other words, the life, salvation, and ministry of the Apostle Paul sets forth a type or "pattern" of the lives, salvation, and ministry of Paul's own Jewish people.  Since Paul was the "pattern" [type; symbol] of the Jewish people, then what does that make the Jewish people? It makes them the "chief," or most sinful people living on the earth today.  
     Since this is the position assigned to them by the inspired Word of God, then what gives God's people the right to hate them for being what the inspired Word says that they are?    
The Lives and Character of Unbelieving Israel
     Wow!  Why have so many prophecy teachers and preachers completely overlooked or ignored this truth?  It tells us exactly what kind of people the unbelieving Jews would be in these "last days" as the end of this present age or dispensation is approaching.  Doesn't the Old Testament Scriptures state several times that the Jewish people are a "stiffnecked and stubborn" or "stiffnecked and rebellious"  people?  See Exodus 32:9 as the first of several such statements in the Scriptures. So this is the people the Gentile nations and peoples are dealing with in these "last days."  
     Then knowing this truth, why are some of God's people today, expecting better things of the Jewish people, than what they are capable of being today, in their lost, unbelieving condition? As a people, they are still in unbelief, having rejected Christ as their Messiah and Savior.  So why should any believer expect the unbelieving Jewish people today, to act like good, honest, kind, and loving people?   Well...??  
Saul of Tarsus.....The Pattern
     Was Saul of Tarsus being a good, kind, loving, person towards those of his own people who had become "Christians?"  Not at all!  Saul persecuted, bound, imprisoned, and even consented to killing Christian people such as Stephen, Acts 7:54-60.  Read also Acts 8:1-4.  Saul was a "holy terror" to those early disciples of Christ, so mean and vicious that his reputation as a wicked persecutor of Christians spread throughout the Roman Empire.    Read it for yourself in Acts 9:10-14, 9:20-21, and 9:26.     
     But the Lord God knew the hunger for righteousness that was in the heart of Saul, the same hunger that is in the heart of all unbelieving people today. Even the wicked today, in the depths of their soul, wish they could be "good."  But only the God who created us has the power to make us "good."   Are you listening?  
     So as Saul was on the road to Damascus, the Lord God graciously revealed Himself to Saul, pleading with him, by reminding Saul that he could hardly "kick against the pricks," Acts 9:5.  
    Dear readers, one of the works of the Holy Spirit of God is to bring conviction upon people when they sin, John 16:7-11.  And the greater the sin or sins committed, the greater is the burden [conviction] that "pricks" the soul.  Can our readers even imagine the burden of conviction that came upon Saul as he watched Stephen die?  Stephen was not fighting or trying to escape! Stephen died peacefully, calling upon the Lord to receive His "Spirit" [soul], Acts 7:54-59.  What a burden of sin and guilt that must have laid on the heart and soul of Saul.  
On the Road to Damascus
     Dear readers, don't miss the fact that Saul first met the Lord while on the road to Damascus.  Since Paul clearly stated that he was a "pattern" [type] for the Jewish people "which should hereafter believe," and since Israel today is on the road to Damascus, is this a "time marker" [sign] indicating that unbelieving Israel today is about to be confronted with the presence and power of the Lord Jesus Christ?  Is it?  Just read on!     
The Hatred of Saul
     Dear readers, many do not know nor understand the intense hatred that the unbelieving  religious Jews have for the Lord Jesus Christ, for the New Testament Scriptures [the teachings of Christ], and for Christians and Christianity today. Because the Israeli government, supposedly grants "religious freedom" to all faiths, there are a few Messianic Jewish congregations in Israel.
      Messianic Jews are those who have received Christ as the  Messiah and Savior, and have a burden to see their people come to a saving knowledge of Christ.  So they preach Christ Jesus to their people, and witness to them at every opportunity.  
      It is never reported on the news, but some of the Messianic Jews have been beaten, some killed, all have been threatened, and some of their homes and church buildings have been set on fire or otherwise vandalized.  This clearly reveals the attitude of the Jewish priesthood, and their religious followers towards Christ Jesus and Christianity today.    
     Saul still lives today, in the persons of the unbelieving, Christ rejecting Jewish people.  But the Lord God also knows the hunger in their souls.  So the Lord God's intention for them, as a nation and people, is to redeem them, even as He redeemed Saul, and turn their whole nation into a nation of believers like the Apostle Paul.  Keep in mind that Paul clearly stated that he was the "pattern" for his people who would "hereafter believe."  Glory to God!  
When Saul Met Jesus
   So  now let's study the "pattern".......   
       Saul was on the road to Damascus, "yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord,"  [Acts 9:1] when he first met the Lord Jesus.   Is it then just a "coincidence" that Israel is on the road to Damascus today?  Or is it a "sign" to the Lord's disciples living today?   
     As Saul was journeying to Damascus, the Lord suddenly appeared to Saul as "a light from heaven," Acts 9:3. Christ Jesus is "the light of the world," and can appear to mankind at any time, and in any way,  He chooses, John 8:12.   
     Christ also told His Jewish disciples that His return would be like a flash of lightning, passing overhead from the east to the west, Matthew 24:27-28.  
     The Greek word translated as "coming" in 24:27 is the word, "parousia."  This word is always used in connection with the Lord's return at the rapture.  This passage is not speaking of the Lord's Second Coming back to the earth, but rather of His visible "appearing" in the heavens above the earth at the time of the resurrection and rapture.  , 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:13.  
     The fact that the Lord gave this prophetic warning to His Jewish disciples, tells me that the presently unbelieving people of Israel will see the glorious instantaneous  flash of the Lord's coming at the rapture.  And they will see some believing Jews taken [disappear] right before their eyes, Luke 17:34-37.   It will be the greatest "witness" to unbelieving Israel they have ever seen, even as the great light was a "witness" to Saul in Acts 9:3.   
     Proof that the Lord was speaking about His coming at the time of the rapture, is set forth in 24:28.  Compare this Scripture with Luke's account speaking of the very same event in  Luke 17:34-37.  
Eagles, not Vultures
     I am well aware that some "interpret" the word, "carcase" in Matt. 24:28 as being the dead bodies of the wicked slain during the Tribulation.  Likewise they "interpret" the word, "eagles" as being vultures feeding on those dead bodies.  Excuse me! But I don't believe a word of this man-made theory.   
      Because I choose to carefully study the statements being made in the Scriptures, and the context in which they occur, I didn't believe such a theory the first time I read the passage.  Now read the comparative passage in Luke 17:34-37, and also read Isaiah 40:31.  Then tell me that these inspired prophecies are not speaking about the resurrection and rapture of God's believing saints.   
     Dear readers, the day and time is fast approaching when our Lord will instantaneously "appear" in the heavens above the earth, 1 Cor. 15:51-52; Titus 2:11-15; 1 Thess. 4:13-18., even like a flash of lightning.  He will call to all who are true believers to "come up hither," [Rev. 4:1-2], and instantly we will be "caught up" to meet Him, as if on the wings of eagles, Isaiah 40:31.  Oh, glory to God!  Only gravity is holding me down as I write.  I am saved, secure, eager, and so ready to go!  "Even so, come, Lord Jesus," Rev. 22:20.  
The Light Seen by Saul
     The fact that the Lord gave the prophecies set forth in the Olivet Discourse to His Jewish disciples, tells me that the presently unbelieving Jewish people in Israel will see the glorious flash of light, when the Lord comes to resurrect and rapture His Church and believing people to glory. When this happens unbelieving Jews will see Messianic or "Christian"  Jews vanish right before their eyes,  Luke 17:34-37.  The resurrection and rapture will be the greatest "witness" to unbelieving Israel, they have ever seen, even as the great light was a "witness" to Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9:3.  Then.......
Commotion in Jerusalem
     Then following what they have just witnessed, the unbelieving Jews will be confronted with the Prophet Elijah, accompanied by John the Revelator, in the streets of Jerusalem, preaching the Lord Jesus Christ, and calling upon the unbelieving Jewish people to repent and believe, Malachi 4:5-6; Rev. 11:3.   These "two witnesses" will authenticate their identity and ministry by fire issuing out of their mouths, and burning up anyone trying to stop them from preaching Jesus as the Messiah and Savior of Israel, whom unbelieving Israel crucified, Rev. 11:5.  The results.......
      Just as Saul of Tarsus once saw the light of the Lord, and heard His voice, so 144,000 of the Jewish people will see the light, and hear the voice of the Lord as preached by the "two witnesses," and will turn to the Lord, believing with their whole heart and soul, Rev. 7:1-8. These 144,000  believing Jews will then be sealed with the name of the Lord God in their foreheads, Rev. 7:3-4.  This will be the first great event to occur following the rapture, just after the beginning of the Tribulation period.          
The Pattern Again
     Saul of Tarsus, seeing the light, and receiving Christ as the "Lord" of his life, typifies both the 144,000 believing Jews, and the Jews which are yet to believe.  How can this be?  Simple!
     Saul had been saved, yet was struck blind by the light for three days.  
     The 144,000 Jews out of all twelve tribes representing the whole Jewish nation, will be saved right at the beginning of the Tribulation.  And just like Saul, after receiving his sight, they will immediately begin to preach Christ and His coming "kingdom," not only to their own people, but in every place on the entire habitable earth, Matthew 24:14.   
     But the several million Jews scattered all over the earth,  which refuse to believe at that time [stiffnecked and stubborn], will remain in spiritual blindness for the next three years [a year for a day...Num. 14:34], Acts 9:8-9.  
The Resurrection of the Jewish People
     Why for three years?   Because it is at the middle of the Tribulation when the resurrection of Old Testament Israel will occur.  See Daniel 11:45 and 12:1-3.  
      I am well aware that the Lord Jesus Christ taught two resurrections; one a "resurrection of life," and the other a "resurrection of damnation,,"  John 5:29.  However, the Lord did not say that  these two different resurrections would take place at the same time, nor that each of the resurrections could not be divided in relation to time.  It is quite clear that the resurrection of New Testament believers precedes the resurrection of the wicked by over a thousand years.  Compare 1 Thess. 4:13-18 and  Rev. 20:12-13.  So why is it a problem to believe and understand that the Old Testament Jewish people who lived under the LAW,  have a seperate resurrection from that of New Testament believers who are living under GRACE?  This is exactly what is set forth in Daniel 12:1-3, and it occurs at the middle of the Tribulation period, typified by the three days before Saul of Tarsus received his sight, Acts 9:8-9.  
The Transformation
     Don't fail to notice that when Saul did receive his sight, he was a completely changed man.  "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [creation...Greek]:  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new," 2 Cor. 5:17.  Saul had become a new man, and if our readers will  pardon the expression, "he hit the ground running."  "And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God," Actsd 9:20.  
     Saul had come to Damascus with letters of authority to bind any "Christians" he found in the synagogues among the Jewish people,, and cast them into prison.  But after meeting Christ on the road to Damascus, he now entered the synagogues to PREACH Christ Jesus whom he once denied.   Oh glory to God!  
     Wicked old Saul, through the saving GRACE of the Lord Jesus Christ, had been transformed into the Apostle Paul, a mighty voice for God  And as our readers study the New Testament, just see how many books in your Bible were written by him who was once the bitter enemy of the Lord Jesus.  
      The miracle of saving grace will transform the life of any lost person who will hear the gospel of Christ and receive Christ as Saul of Tarsus did.  If the reader is unsaved, call upon the Lord for salvation, and experience the transforming miracle for yourself.  
     Dear readers, I have not finished pointing out the truths set forth in the "pattern."  There is so much more I could write on this subject.  But I must bring this study to a close, surely  having  accomplished my purpose for writing it.    
     Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, don't hate and be angry with the Jewish people.  Each of us who are true believers were once lost in sin and unbelief ourselves..  Don't be angry with them; not even when they are deceitful and dishonest and corrupt, as many of them are today.  Does the names, "Soros," or "Rothchild" come to mind?   
      No!  Pray for them!  Pray for their deliverance from unbelief and sin. Love them in spite of their sin and unbelief.  Pray that God will shorten the time, and hasten the day when, just like John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul, the redeemed Jewish people will evangelize the world, Zech. 8:23.  ,  
      The Lord Jesus, the greatest Jew who has ever lived, taught that we believers should return good for evil, and show love to those who hate us and despitefully use us.  Are you listening?  
      If any reader is unsaved, or even not sure of your salvation, won't you earnestly seek the Lord Jesus as your Savior today?  I mean like right now.  Read Romans 10:8-13 and Ephesians 2:8-10.  Read and believe John 3:3-18, 3:36, 5:24, and Acts 16:30-31.  I want to meet every reader in Heaven when our Lord comes for us.  Please don't disappoint me!  
     May our gracious Lord God add His blessings to this study is my prayer.  
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POSTAL.....Pastor F. M. Riley, 14275 Co. Rd. 8120, Rolla, MO 65401
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